Nation after nation are lining up to do battle. Natural allies and surprising new ones will come together along a schism that will divide Europe. No, we're not talking about the new Cold War with Russia some silly people appear to be wishing for. We're talking about something more important than that - the Eurovision Song Contest 2014. Saturday 10th May is the grand final from Copenhagen so, as per tradition, here are my picks for this year.
Let's begin with some Latvian hippies:
Readers know I usually have a guitar allergy, so something completely acoustic - ugh. BUT Aarzemnieki's Cake to Bake pulls off the Eurovision trick of being twee and nice. If it gets through the semi-finals I can see it picking up low points from nearly everyone. But a winner? Nah.
Okay, enough of the nice. Let's get nasty.
Yes, she really is wearing a hat with a naughty word. In Eurovisionland presentation is as important as the music, and Italy's Emma Marrone has got it - whatever 'it' is these days. But she has energy and 'tude, which might help explain why her YouTube viewer count is so high. By rights she should blow the average and decidedly dull off the stage (I also can't help thinking all young women who live in London look like her).
And now time for my pick:
Austria's bearded drag queen will surely upset the bigots. The song is, well, Eurovision ballad fare - nothing special. But Conchita Wurst certainly cuts an arresting figure - something the canny Austrian jury no doubt spotted.
But who will win? I got it badly wrong last year with my tip getting nowhere. But this year it's between Conchita and this crew from Armenia:
I defy you to remember Aram MP3's Not Alone 10 minutes from now.
Okay, what about our Molly? I don't like her song, I'm afraid. But the power to the people line is trite enough to intersect with a populist zeitgeist I guess. What's more, the YouTube vid has piled up 416k views - putting her in the top five. Could the UK get a respectable spot this year, despite the dreary ditty?
And, sadly, that's the problem with this year's contest. 2013's was packed with great tunes and outrageous performers. In 2014, Austria and Italy notwithstanding, it's really, really dull. On the night it won't matter - Eurovision watchers will be fired by camp jingoism, but let's hope 2015 will bring us a collection of tunes worth the year's wait.